Join Justin Ahrens for an in-depth discussion in this video Team tools that will help you dominate the scheduling maze, part of Scheduling for Creatives.
- The list of online tools and apps continues to grow and there is a variety of cost-points. I tend to be a bit conservative in what my team uses, taking my time before we go all in on investing in a new tool. But, over time, I've come up with some that my team either has used, or is using that I think are worth looking into. First, think about your process and what tools might make the process consistent, as easy as possible, and still be cost-effective. It all comes down to the size of your team and how it is structured.
For project management, my team often uses Basecamp. There are many competitors out there that seem to be great options as well, including FunctionFox, Workfront, Trello, and Asana. What we look for when it comes to project management and scheduling is a platform that allows us to publish our schedule and manage it anytime and anywhere. It has to be a platform that allows us to have both open and closed communications, meaning that our clients can see status updates and feel confident of the project's timing and our approach in progress.
We also look for a platform that enables us to have all key information in one space. This reduces time spent trying to find key information or files and emails, contacting the client, or trying to remember key decisions that have been made. Some of the suggestions I have given you include some time-tracking invoicing, but another product we like using is Harvest. We're able to track our time, sync with QuickBooks, and do our invoicing using it. And there's a mobile app we like as well. For calendaring, sharing documents, and collaborating, it's hard to beat Google Drive.
I was skeptical at first, but I'm a believer now. From Google Docs to Google Calendar, we are all in. It all started with the calendar. Our work calendar is on Google, and everyone has access to it. It also gives team members the ability to add their time off or input scheduling changes. This saves us massive amounts of time and helps the whole studio to be on schedule and in the know. We also share various work documents that are available, no matter where we are so we can stay on top of things. For those quick questions from a team member, it's hard to beat Slack.
The free version is great, and there are a lot of plug-ins that can be handy and fun. It can also be a distraction, so just set some ground rules about what works for you. New solutions and new technology is coming out all the time. But, this list of suggestions is what we're using now, and they work for us.
- Creating a balanced workflow
- Increasing productivity around tight timelines
- Delivering bad news early
- Determining when you are most creative
- Daily habits that help you win
- Working with easily distracted employees and team members
- Bringing clients into the schedule